Maths, Mechanics and Motors

Senior STEM Camp for Years 3 to 11

17-21 July 2023: Face to Face at Baden-Powell House, 65 Queens Gate, SW7 5JS


The first of our three Summer Camps is all about Mechanics, Motors and Maths. This camp will appeal to children interested in how machines work, robotics, programming and exciting maths concepts - in this case Combinatorics. Specific learning points will include:

  • practical programming, from Scratch to Arduino C depending on each child’s age and experience in the subject 
  • mechanical principles and the functions of gears (ages 8 to 10)
  • how steering works on a real car and how this can be robotically controlled (ages 11 and over) 
  • combinatorics, Hamming distances and Dog geometry (see details below)

Our pupil to teacher ratio is always 6 to 1 with participants taught in small classes based on their age and experience in each subject.

Places are limited, please register your interest HERE.   


In Robotics and Programming, children will work on different projects by age group:

Mechanically Controlled Self-Steering Model Car for ages 8 to 10

A key part of this camp is understanding what Mechanics and Motors are all about. Over the five days, children will have the opportunity to design and build a very unusual working model of a self-driving vehicle. 

The model has three wheels with the rear two connected by gears to a motor. The single front wheel is steered by a gearing system that links to the back of the car. As the rear wheels rotate, the gearing system steers the car through linkages to the front wheel. 

Complicated? Everything becomes clear as children work on their own individual models and as they try to predict the path the vehicle will take when the motor is switched on. Through this hands-on experience, pupils will:

  • design and build their own self-driving vehicle

  • understand the mechanical principles of motion and vehicle control

  • explore how gears work

  • develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills

Once each child’s model is complete at the end of the week they can take it home to demonstrate what they have learned and achieved.

Robotics Car with Real Rack and Pinion Steering for ages 11+

This project is a great introduction to quite complex robotics and wireless communication as it involves working with both hardware and software components. The mission for each child is to:

  • build and control their own robotic system

  • learn how to programme in Arduino C

  • operate a Wi-Fi hotspot

  • understand how rack and pinion steering works

This ‘real steering with remote control’ project centres around using an ESP8266 chip with a Wi-Fi hotspot to remotely control a car that has a real rack and pinion steering system. 

Children will learn the basic principles of robotics, such as motion control, sensing and actuation. 

Pupils will put programming into practice as they learn to code an ESP8266 chip in the Arduino C programming language so the chip responds to signals from the controlling application and directs the servo-motor to move the car's steering. To achieve this pupils will learn programming tools such as variables, loops and conditional statements. 

Once each pupil has completed their project they will be able to control their car's directions from a remote computer using an application they will programme, together with a Wi-Fi hotspot. 

Additional learning outcomes are:

  • Knowledge of electronics: pupils will be taught about the various electronic components involved in the project, including the function of the ESP8266 chip, servo-motor and other circuitry and how to assemble them into a functioning system

  • How wireless communication works: the project involves using Wi-Fi to remotely control the car. Children will learn about wireless communication protocols and how to configure and use them effectively.

  • Plus problem-solving skills, teamwork and collaboration and creative thinking

This is a take-home project and pupils can use it as part of their skills portfolio right up to university application level.

In Maths, as part of the camp, all year groups have a one hour maths lesson each day. 

Participants can also join an extra problem solving session in the morning from 9 to 10am. There children will tackle different levels of UKMT challenges from the Primary Maths Challenge and International Kangaroo, up to more senior levels.

Here are more details of what will be studied by each Year group during the camp:

Years 3-4

The beginnings of Combinatorics: how many ways are there to colour a cube? How many different meal combinations can be chosen from a menu? How many routes can be taken from A to B? Systematic counting serves as a basis on which to build the main ideas of combinatorics and we invite our younger campers to make their first steps in the art of enumeration.

Years 5-6

Pupils will learn the basics of Combinatorics and become familiar with non-decimal number systems.  

Years 7-9

The mathematics of Twenty Questions and how to handle lost questions and lies: football pools and winning strategies, Hamming Distance and the geometry of the space of words. Pupils will study the Combinatorics of words and games and the strange world of Dog Geometry.

Years 10-11

The mathematics of Twenty Questions and how to handle lost questions and lies: football pools and winning strategies, Hamming Distance and the geometry of the space of words: simultaneous systems of equations and Hamming codes: error probabilities on a CD and the problem of how to discover the ‘wrong weight’.

In Programming, whether your child is already a confident coder or just starting out, we will create the most appropriate small study group for them, based on their age and experience. 

Format and fees for the senior face to face camp:

  • pupil to teacher ratio of 6:1
  • participants are taught in small groups, tailored by similarity of age and ability, in individual classrooms
  • camp times: 10am to 3pm
  • or from 9am for an extra hour of problem solving and/or from 3pm to 4pm with our chess class. There is a supplement of £25 for each additional session booked
  • fees are £595 for five days. It is not possible to join for a shorter period

Places are limited, please register your interest HERE.